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tv   Washington Journal John Breyault Discusses Consumer Fraud  CSPAN  April 17, 2017 8:34am-9:03am EDT

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women and getting more women into clinical trials could possibly lead to the cure for all of us. >> this weekend at 8:00 p.m. on c-span. "> "washington journal continues. at financialook friday consumer scams, we are at theby john breyault national consumers league. for folks unfamiliar with ncl, what is your organization? ncl is a national consumer advocacy organization. we have been around since 1899, which makes of the older consumer protection company in the u.s. we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and we are based in washington, d.c. -- you are here before tax day. let's talk about the most common tax scams out there. guest: sure. some of the top tax scams are number one, what we call the impersonation scam.
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this is where people who claim to be with the irs or some other kind of government agency will call and say that you owe taxes. and if you do not pay them right now, you are going to go to jail , it will get on your credit report, or you will be deported. consumersnt to warn about using tax preparers who may not be licensed in their state or who may be out to do things i put false refund information on your returns so that the taxpayer gets a bigger fee. we want tother thing warn consumers about. finally, we want to make sure consumers are aware that the data they are using to file a tax return is actually very invaluable to scammers want to send phising emails, so to keep possible,as safe as and also employers, they are increasingly targeted by phishing scams. host: on the impersonation scams, how do you detect that, how do you defend against it? that: first of all, know
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impersonation scams tend to come most often over the phone. if someone calls you over the phone and says they are with the irs or the federal trade commission or the fbi and demands money, that is the flag.t red that is not how those agencies contact consumers, particularly not how the irs contacts. consumers they will contact you by the mail first. . secondly, something like a wire transfer or prepaid debit card, that is another big red flag of fraud. number three, the aware that when they want payment right away, that is because they are trying to get you to send money without thinking first. they are trying to make you afraid of your is the third big red flag. host: give us a call if you questions, comments, or stories about the consumer fraud scams. we want to hear from you. we put our phone lines up regionally. (202) 748-8000 if you're in the eastern or central time zone, (202) 748-8001 in the mountain
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and pacific time zones. the impersonation scam with the irs, it was a topic at a .earing earlier this week the treasury department's inspector general for tax administration was testifying and talking about some of the changing tactics used in tax scams this year. here is a bit from that hearing. [video clip] shiftil 2016, there was a to the method of payment. they also redoubled their efforts on their auto dialer program, so they are able to make hundreds of thousands of telephone calls in a very short order. to your point exactly, when the scam first started, it was individuals calling one-on-one. when they shifted to the auto dialer technology, they were able to blanket individuals with hundreds of thousands of calls, leaving a call that number. about the same time, they shifted, and what we learned in our investigation is the itunes cards makes it very easy for them to flip the money. they are no longer paying
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middlemen to convert payments into money orders. itunese now selling the cards on a third-party market and then pocketing the money immediately. also, it is very difficult for law enforcement to trace that transaction. host: john breyault, explains the itunes aspect your he was talking about why they were doing it, but how does it work? the caller tells you pay the irs with an itunes gift card? guest: that is exactly what happens. the itunes gift card as a payment method, one that we identified last year as an emerging form of patient. -- of payment. they used as for wire transfers. they will tell you to go to target or to best buy, put money on to an itunes gift card, and then send them the code on the back of the card. that allows the scammer to immediately deduct the funds that were loaded onto that card
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from the card itself, and now they have access to those funds. said, they quickly sell those funds or access those codes on a thriving black market. what we understand if this is often located in east asia. who blanketllers consumers, that is another problem because when you have are these call centers often overseas that use cheap internet technology and consent of literally millions of phone calls to consumers in hopes of scam in just a few. but it makes moneys for the scammers. millions of phone calls when it comes to the irs impersonation scam, how much money are we talking about has been scanned off of regular people in the past couple of years? guest: the irs impersonation scam is one that has grown. it is the number two most complained that the federal trade commission heard about in 2016. in terms of the money lost, it is hard to say because people do not always report their losses.
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fraud losses overall, about three quarters of a billion dollars reported to the ftc last year just from fraud. fraud is an underreported crime. that is just the tip of the iceberg. in reality, i believe the fraud losses run into the billions of dollars. host: we're talking with john breyault. we want to hear your stories if you have been targeted or a victim of some of these scams. phone lines are open. john is of first in fairfax, virginia, just across the potomac river. john, good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. most of these calls are coming from india, and i really believe that. a lot of people when they hear about the irs, he first thing they do is they freak out because some of the answers are machines, it sounds like an american voice. iowa's to do is -- checked the phone number where
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it is coming from. i realized that was a scam. but the reality is, i suspect some people -- the irs, they do not call people. they sent a letter if they need something from you. this is -- most of the target is the older people and people who are less i know some of my friends who have paid a couple thousands of dollars, and they regretted. this is a very serious problem. ago, someoneonths arrested in india was doing this kind of action. they are investigating people doing this kind of scam. guest: yes. a center for impersonation scams of all kinds, and there are a number of reasons for that. number one, it is an english-speaking country, see you have a lot of people who can speak to the intended victims in the u.s.
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cheatre also allowed to americans over in the u.s., millions at a time. the irs does not contact consumers through the fund to tell you that you owe money. that is a big red flag. if someone calls you from the irs and asks for money -- if someone calls you and says they are from the irs and asks for money, hang up and report it. in terms of victims, this runs the gamut in terms of high education levels to low education levels. the key thing is creating this sense of urgency. what they will do is say, "if you do not pay right now, we will do for you, we will put a negative mark on your credit rating, we will send the cops are now, and stay on the phone with me until you go to the store and get the itunes gift card or wire transfer." they are good at minute feeling the emotions of
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victims. host: when you are getting those urgent calls from some of those fraudsters. guest: absolutely pure today before tax day, because it is a deadline that you and i know is coming up, the fraudsters know it, and they know many americans are anxious about that, so what they will do is we expect they're busy contacting consumers in the days and weeks leading up to tax days and the days after that for people who may have missed the deadline to try to make money basically off theonsumers' fear of government and what might happen if you do not pay your taxes on time. host: illinois, peggy, good morning. caller: good morning. i have been having a lot of these calls also to my phone, and my daughter has, too. she ordered me something at christmas time over her computer, over the internet. since then, i do not know if they traced it or how they done it, but i have been receiving
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six calls to eight calls a week. i contacted my senior center in sterling. they gave me the national do not call list, and i reported it to them, but the calls keep continuing, and if it is not a number that is not in my phone they have,gnize, like, a 561 or something area code, i just don't even answer it. i just don't even answer it. host: peggy, thank you for the call. what can peggy do? guest: peggy, you are not alone. many people start receiving these impersonation calls from scammers because their phone numbers, which is actually very valuable information to the scam operators, get on a list, and andscammers buy, trade,
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fight over those lists all the time, and they do it because they can call folks like you and other americans with exactly this type of impersonation scam. the fact that your caller id shows a number and you do not answer, that is a good tactic. know, too, that the scammers are able to make any number they want show up on your caller id thread technique called caller id spoofing. you talked to the do not call list, that is a great step as well. it is a list run by the federal trade commission. it has millions of numbers on it, and legitimate marketers are supposed to be attention to that and not call the numbers on the list. however, the scammers are criminals and do not pay attention to the do not call list, even though they are committing a federal crime every time they call. they do not care. they are overseas and hard-to-reach. host: how does one get on the list? guest: a lot of ways can actually do you can put your phone number into the wrong
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website, fill out a form at one of those -- a little slips to try to win the car the mall, there are lots of ways that those numbers can get in scammers' hands. that is why consumers should really start to think of other phone numbers the same way they would a social security number or some other valuable piece of information that they would not disclose to anyone to be careful when you provide a cure if someone asks usa as a phone number for edification, asked if there is some other way that we can do this without my phone number. host: linda in georgia, good morning. caller: hi, and thank you for taking my call. i read an article how wells fargo was fined about $148 million for some of the fraud they were creating, moving, creating new accounts, moving people's money to another count. i was wondering -- why are these people never prosecuted? if you went and robin thicke,
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you would obviously be prosecuted, but now they just call it -- if you went and robbed a bank, you would obviously be prosecuted, but now they just call it inappropriate movement of money. guest: that is a great question. wells fargo allowed it to happen on their watch, even encouraged it to happen, i would definitely think some should be found criminally negligent at the released. that said, this is a law enforcement matter. there is a lot of evidence that has to be gathered. as we saw during the financial foris, people responsible billions or trillions of dollars never went to jail, so it is hard to say who will go to jail and who won't, but i agree, it is very frustrating to see executives get off scott free. host: what does the national consumers league think is the best way to cut down on fraud? guest: i think one thing this congress should do is take a look at data security standards.
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aboutwere talking valuable information like yourself on number getting in the hands of scammers, that is information that i think all businesses and all organizations who keep consumers' information should be required to keep secure under reasonable data security. we have tried to pass legislation like this for well over a decade. unfortunately, congress has not taken steps. but when we see consumers' information being misused by scammers, when we see the impersonation scam growing in numbers, when we see huge breaches like we saw at yahoo! with more than one billion records compromised, i think there is an impetus. now is the time for congress to take a step back and take a real look at the need for data security legislation that affects all consumers' data. host: lancaster, california is next. glenn, good morning. caller: yes, i would like to talk about our last president. with falseaway
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press. he had a, university as a foreign student.he defrauded the people of the united states of america. i would like to talk about how much money that was really spent here in california on the legal population. through the welfare systems. they have special money -- assess immigrants, but they are not here legally. they did not immigrate through like most people go to the embassies from their country and come here the right way. is theren breyault, any issue impacting immigrants or that national consumers -- picks up?? guest: i'm glad you mentioned the phone or ability of the undocumented citizens.
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-- the vulnerability of undocumented citizens. claim they are offering legal services for a hefty fee come and in fact, they are offering nothing more than getting the person come in the best cases come in touch with information they are already able to obtain for free, but i you talkion that when about impersonation scam some of these imposters who call, they look for names that look like they might be from outside the united states, names that look hispanic for example, and they will use that come and they will say they are with immigration or threaten deportation as a way to get the immigrant to pay up. so immigrants are definitely especially vulnerable to frauds and scams, this time of year and throughout the year. host: virginia's next, don, good morning. caller: good morning. scammed by everything, from mail, entering sweepstakes, especially by email. "we represent the fbi," even the
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white house! i sent a copy of it to the white house, and michelle obama said this is a scam. how can you report these people. ok, go ahead. host: don, before you go, what was the white house scam? caller: the scam the white house and a set i won $160 million from the country, but they demanded i give them my address. that did not happen here i found out that michelle obama -- it was not her email. i did not know what was going on, so i said to send it to the white house to investigated because all they have to do is go through yahoo! to find out who did it. host: ok. john breyault? guest: scams continue to be a problem that the devils -- b edevils all of us. it is important to take a look at these with a skeptical eye.
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clearly, michelle obama is not going to send you any mill that you won $60 million. scammers who sent up these phishing emails are very adept in tailoring them in such a way that will make them much more believable. one of the scams we've seen the fbi warning consumers about recently has been business scams, business phishing scams, where they will send in a mill into a corporate network and say oh, you need to pay this contract, make it look like it is from the president or ceo of the company, it is really an effort to get people to wire money to a scammer. but because the email is coming from somebody you know and trust, you are more likely to take action on it. even when you get the kind of talkedat the caller about, the important thing to raise even if it does sound ridiculous to you, do not be attended to click on any links or attachments to that enough because the links or attachments can do things like install malware on your computer that can log your keystrokes, and that can get access to your financial accounts, imo accounts, other sensitive -- the
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mill accounts from other sensitive information, not only you, but send out emails and your information to contact list. it is not about you, it is everyone you contact to online. host: what is guest: is an advocacy campaign. right now, we have all kinds of imposter scams, the phishing scams i talked about, and it is also a hub where we allow consumers to take their complaints directly to a spirit we share them with 200 law enforcement and consumer protection agencies. where a consumer might be on the verge of falling victim to a scam, we have the ability to reach out to the consumer with a trained counselor and prevent them to them fromney -- sending money, or in the case that they have already, we can help them reported and importantly not host: send more money.
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a complaint sent from -- not send more money., why is the cost of fraud going up? guest: number one, the scammers are always looking for ways to improve their game. one of the ways we talked about was instead of using wire transfer where western union and money gram and companies involved in that have improved in trying to stop the fraudulent wire transfers from going through. now the scammers are turning to gift card, like mr. ccamus talked about. since they are using the technology company in india, people do reach to send more money, so there are a lot of up, butit when certainly the base -- the advice to consumers is no matter whether they are asking for $20 or $10,000, always use caution. if you're concerned it might not
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be true, you're not sure about it, take a minute, ask somebody you know and trust to find out -- if this sounds like a scam, i am not sure, and wait before you send that money because 90 times out of 100, you should never send the money. host: we're taking your calls. kelly in rome, georgia, go ahead. caller: yes, sir. thank you for taking my call. if you would allow me just a second, i have been the victim, or my family has been the victim identity theft and everything. i am at the point to where i don't go online. but in do anything, , and theyax return
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basically took everything into my tax return. -- i think it in was around 2010 -- a company, i will not name the company, they got -- they had the information, my social, my everything, and bissel thing,00 and i called this company, and i said, "can you not stop that?" it just rolls and rolls and if you can get
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-- and papers or like ally if you are in, wi-fi, like, you know, starbucks or something -- host: thank you for sharing your story. john breyault. guest: kelly's experience is not unusual. the problem is once a consumer falls victim to a scam one time, their name, their information becomes much more valuable to other scammers. they buy and sell these lists of repeat victims among themselves so they can continue to defraud people like kelly. she mentioned the tax identity fraud that she fell victim to. the information that is necessary to do that, especially back in the 2009 timeframe she
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talked about, this was an emerging scam at the time, very easy for fraudsters to file ahead of the legitimate taxpayer ,ike kelly and claim the return excuse me, claim their refund. and then she started receiving, she talked about, and now she is having additional fraud outreach, and that is very typical. what i would caution people like you, kelly, and others, who would fall or have fallen victim to fraud, is be especially vigilant because now you are likely to see more calls, communication, email from the scammers. if you see something that does not seem right, or you are not sure, the best reaction is to not respond to the mills, hang up the phone, do not send the money come and talk to somebody that you know and trust so they are aware of what is going on. you mentioned that the very end the wi-fi. what we tell consumers is when
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you are on a public wi-fi, like a starbucks, for example, be very careful about doing things like sharing your sensitive financial information. for example, when i am in a public library, for example, or in a coffee shop, i will not log into my bank's website to check my account balance. that is because sometimes the public wi-fi hotspots are not as sugar as they should be -- as secure as they should be, and the information you send over the network can be collected by someone and then used to defraud you. so be very careful about that. if i'm a starbucks, i am just checking maya moore, may be looking at the news, but definitely not going to my bank's website. nst: two websites -- in they also run ,john brielle, always appreciate -- john, always appreciate the time. up next is our money segment.
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we will be talking with the atlantic council's george binney says about how much they contribute to nato and what that contributes to a what other countries patriot we will be right back. ♪ week in prime time on c-span, tonight at 8 p.m. advisor former senior to president barack obama, on her time in the white house and plans. >> i think i'm at a different phase of my life. want to be a force for good, we just made public today 'm signed on to be pro bono advisor to the obama foundation nd i'm interested in what it do. >> tuesday 8 p.m. eastern, future," ion for the
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author. >> i've predicted for the we will get rid of a thousand hospitals, we are taking care out of the four the medical institutions and delivering at big, r other facilities, big part of transformation. facilities. be in wednesday 8 p.m. eastern, personal profile of president cabinet. >> we'll now start to show our strength, we will not be afraid o stand up when we decide to make an action, we'll follow through with it and make sure that is known. shy 't think we will be about the value of america. >> thursday 8 p.m. eastern, with personal profiles of president trump's cabinet, devos, price, ben carson and pruitt. >> states join together and into to address water quality issue and involve the .p.a. to serve the role it's supposed to serve, should be
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celebrated. eastern, mariah. hriver, and physicians talk alzheimers disease. >> this week 8 p.m. on c-span. >> "washington journal" continues. host: each week in this segment "washington journal" we take at ok at how your money is work in a different federal program, this week we're jorge benitez, director of nato source at atlantic council. benitez, explain how the funding commitment work nato, what do the countries agree to when they nato?p with guest: thank you, pleasure to be here there is


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